Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Ambitious development plans for Camlough Lake

Plans are afoot for the future development of Camlough Lake and its surrounding area so that the full potential of the tourism gem in the heart of south Armagh can be fully realised. The Lake is currently undergoing vital rehabilitation programme works which are set for completion in 2017. In the meantime, details of a preferred option for the future development of the Lake have been included for noting purposes in the agenda of this month’s Enterprise, Regeneration and Tourism Committee.

The selected development plan includes a shared multi-use building with a decked area to the lake shore for sitting, an Interpretative/Exhibition Area, a café/restaurant, meeting rooms, changing facilities and toilets.

A safe paddling area for children will be located beside the building, as well as floating pontoons, canoe steps and a new slipway.

A new access road, pathways and a new woodland with a nature trail, environmental art trail, picnic areas, play area, public/environmental artwork, and parking to include electric and water points for campervans, also form part of the exciting masterplan for the Lake.

The plans are also thought to include a potential looped walking route and a walking/cycleway link to onshore facilities, with a potential riverside link to Camlough village.

The Examiner understands that a new and unique camping facility overlooking the spectacular Lake has also been granted planning approval. The development, which will be geared towards outdoor pursuits lovers, will offer mountain biking, angling and kayaking once completed.

A total of six camping pods in the style of log cabins are planned along the Newtown Road, each with its own parking port alongside.  The facility will also consist of provision for up to 12 tent pitches and a communal common room for campers.

Slieve Gullion Councillor Roisin Mulgrew has said the development of the Lake is all part of “realising the potential that has been left dormant in south Armagh.”

Ms Mulgrew said developing Camlough Lake as a major tourist draw was about providing “ a range of activities and facilities that tourists can use and avail of, and they will hopefully stay and spend some money in south Armagh.” She said the plans for the lake were “fabulous” but stressed that this was the beginning of a long journey as further community consultation needed to be carried out.

The Sinn Fein Councillor added that tourists realise the area is of outstanding beauty and that the plans were about pushing the area forward to realise its full potential “that has been left dormant in south Armagh for far, far too long.”